WRITING ON THE ETHER: Authors Need Random House on Board

agent, author, books, digital, ebooks, Jane Friedman, Porter Anderson, publisher, publishing, Writing on the Ether, Tools of Change, O'Reilly Media, author platform, blog, blogging, journalism, TOC, #TOCcon, Author (R)evolution Day, #ARDay, Publishing Perspectives, Ether for Authors, Ed Nawotka, The Bookseller, FutureBook, Philip Jones, Sam Missingham, Foyles, #FutureFoyles, London Book Fair, #LBF13


agent, author, books, digital, ebooks, Jane Friedman, Porter Anderson, publisher, publishing, Writing on the Ether, Tools of Change, O'Reilly Media, author platform, blog, blogging, journalism, TOC, #TOCcon, Author (R)evolution Day, #ARDay, Publishing Perspectives, Ether for Authors, Ed Nawotka, The Bookseller, FutureBook, Philip Jones, Sam Missingham, Foyles, #FutureFoyles, London Book Fair, #LBF13Writers in the Spotlight: How To Turn Your Readings Into Book Sales
with Porter Anderson

Join me in this spe­cial three-hour inten­sive Boot Camp ses­sion at Writer’s Digest Conference East (#WDCE) at 12:30pET on Fri­day, April 5. We’ll look at pub­lic pre­sen­ta­tion for the entre­pre­neur­ial author in an interactive, up-on-your-feet workshop format: come with two pages of your work in progress, ready to rock and read.

Click here and see the top listing for details.


Table of Contents

  1. Authors Need Random House on Board
  2. Another Ship Heard From: AWP
  3. Google Pisses Off Everybody: Reader Recalled
  4. The Used-Digital Debate: Dog-Eared eBooks?
  5. Books: Reading (a lot) on the Ether
  6. Did We Mention Conferences? (Discount on WDCE)
  7. Last Gas: 50 Shades of Insult Added to Injury

Authors Need Random House on Board

Publishers have an opportunity to travel in a different direction: showcase their services, highlight their successes, and exploit their added-value. Lower the draw-bridge and come up with a new way of publishing more authors more cheaply, but better than they [authors] could do if they did it themselves.

 

agent, author, books, digital, ebooks, Jane Friedman, Porter Anderson, publisher, publishing, Writing on the Ether, Books in Browsers, Internet Archive, StoryWorld, Writer's Digest Conference, O'Reilly Media, Tools of Change

Philip Jones

The Bookseller’s Philip Jones at The FutureBook writes a careful argument in A Classless Community. Maybe because that wordclassless” could go both ways.

For a long time I’ve wondered why trade publishers don’t open up their lists to would-be self-published writers, bringing more of them into the publishing fold, and working with them to build writing careers. The news that has been emerging around Random House US’ Hydra imprint, reminds me why they are wise to have been hesitant.

agent, author, books, digital, ebooks, Jane Friedman, Porter Anderson, publisher, publishing, Writing on the Ether, Tools of Change, O'Reilly Media, author platform, blog, blogging, journalism, TOC, #TOCcon, Author (R)evolution Day, #ARDay, Publishing Perspectives, Ether for Authors, Ed Nawotka, The Bookseller, FutureBook, Philip Jones, Sam Missingham, Foyles, #FutureFoyles, London Book Fair, #LBF13If you need it, the background on Random House, its four hapless digital imprints, and the hostility that greeted their contracts is in this section of Ether for Authors at Publishing PerspectivesBattle Lines: SFWA Stares Down Random House.

The latest update, as you’ll have heard, sees the publisher relenting.

 

agent, author, books, digital, ebooks, Jane Friedman, Porter Anderson, publisher, publishing, Writing on the Ether, Tools of Change, O'Reilly Media, author platform, blog, blogging, journalism, Authors Launch, TOC Authors, Author (R)evolution Day, Publishing Perspectives, Ether for Authors, Ed Nawotka, FutureBook, Bowker

Victoria Strauss

Victoria Strauss at the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America’s (SFWA) Writer Beware blog writes in Random House Announces New Terms at Digital Imprints Hydra, Alibi, Loveswept, and Flirt:

Based on strong criticism from writers’ groups, authors, and agents, Random House has decided to make major changes in its digital contract…For the profit-sharing arrangement, there’s still no advance. But Random House has eliminated all chargebacks for digital editions, so the split between author and publisher is 50/50 of net revenue (actual sales income) from the first copy sold. In other words: no setup costs, no 10% deduction for sales and marketing.

For the advance-and-royalty deal, authors will receive a traditional publishing contract, with the publisher covering 100% of costs. There will be an advance, and royalties will be paid at Random House’s standard ebook royalty rate of 25% of net. The contract will still be life-of-copyright, but the reversion clause has been improved.

agent, author, books, digital, ebooks, Jane Friedman, Porter Anderson, publisher, publishing, Writing on the Ether, author platform, blog, blogging, journalism, TOC, #TOCcon, Author (R)evolution Day, Tools of Change, O'Reilly Media, Publishing Perspectives, Ether for Authors, Ed Nawotka, DBW, #DBW13, Publishers Launch, Authors Launch, FutureBook, Philip Jones, Sam Missingham, The Bookseller, TheFutureBook, Foyles, #FutureFoyles, #LBF13, London Book Fair, Digital Minds, #DigiConf13

David Gaughran

Nevertheless, Mudville is slow to rejoice, and its caution is prudent.

David Gaughran, an influential and restrained leader in the self-publishing community, is correct to counsel that now is not the time to run cheering onto the docks, in Publishers Behaving Badly, Part…I’ve Lost Count:

The new terms from Random House are an improvement on those originally offered. Gone is the requirement for an author to pay back the costs that are normally borne by a publisher – for the ebook version at least. If the book is selected for a print edition, the author will still have to repay those costs before seeing any royalties. From the excerpts of the contract I saw, these include the cost of printing, binding, shipping, storing, distributing, and dealing with returns.

 

Gaughran goes on, however:

I find it amusing that Random House first stuck to its guns, and then only agreed to make some changes when headlines appeared comparing them to a “predatory vanity press” when they have recently struck a deal to merge with Penguin – who run their own predatory vanity press (which Random House will soon co-own!). But I digress.

agent, author, books, digital, ebooks, Jane Friedman, Porter Anderson, publisher, publishing, Writing on the Ether, Tools of Change, O'Reilly Media, author platform, blog, blogging, journalism, Authors Launch, TOC Authors, Author (R)evolution Day, Publishing Perspectives, Ether for Authors, Ed Nawotka, FutureBook, #fbook12, Philip Jones, Sam Missingham, Nigel Roby, The Bookseller, TheFutureBookThat’s the despised Author Solutions, of course, Gaughran refers to. And many authors will not be as quick as he is to curb their own digressions. It’s too easy to  look at a moment like this as the one when the articulate and coordinated pressure of an 8,000-member author association fired across the bow of a Big Six steamer and forced it to turn in mid-voyage.

But while I, too, believe this was a pivotal moment—two digital imprints of four had been banned by SFWA, the other two surely would have followed—the worst thing writers can do at this point is to think in terms of vanquishing a major house during the long journey to new industry control.

agent, author, books, digital, ebooks, Jane Friedman, Porter Anderson, publisher, publishing, Writing on the Ether, Tools of Change, O'Reilly Media, author platform, blog, blogging, journalism, TOC, #TOCcon, Author (R)evolution Day, #ARDay, Publishing Perspectives, Ether for Authors, Ed Nawotka, The Bookseller, FutureBook, Philip Jones, Sam Missingham, Foyles, #FutureFoyles, London Book Fair, #LBF13What can be harvested of Big Six marketing, rights-negotiation, and distribution capabilities is important to retain. Authors need every avenue of production available. The accommodations writers achieve even in imperfect transitional events like this one are of value.

In the end, Jones is correct:

Despite the large number of entities out there that exist only to make money from self-published writers and do so with impunity, it is a different thing when a big publisher goes this route. The raison d’etre of traditional publishing is to take risks on talent, and back their editors to do so. When they get it right the rewards are huge, and will help to ameliorate the cost of the misses.

 

And this must remind us that standing, working publishers are more useful than the hulks of dead ones. The risk-taking function of the standard publisher, as Jones writes, shouldn’t become a thing of the past.

Even with a list driven by would-be self-published writers the publisher should assume the risk. Telling an author that they must pay to be part of the list is vanity publishing; it reverses the traditional approach and undermines what a publisher does. A publisher looking to create such a list should look at ways of taking the cost out of the risk, not passing the costs of the risk on to the author. Hydra’s initial problem was that it wanted to share the risk, but continue to take the rump of the reward (including life-of-copyright).

 

Turning the biggest ships under the new tidal force of authorial power may well prove to be just this, an effect of concerted but civil pressure. And course corrections will rarely be complete in a single go.

Tacking may well be the new full speed ahead.

 

Jones, Strauss, and Gaughran are all good voices in the widening mix and each has a point to make about the relative value of Random House’s ultimate posture, but only as long as those imprints remain functioning at all. It is better to have come through with the imprints afloat than sinking. And it’s compromise and patience—holding out the chance for discussion Strauss has described as “cordial,” not rancorous—that will keep making it possible for Jones, who has the ear of the legacy establishment, to submit messages like this:

Publishers will need to learn how to balance the competing demands of the different types of authors they will have to manage…But publishers won’t do this if they give the impression of wanting to treat these authors as second-class citizens.

To SFWA: Congratulations—and steady as she goes.

Click to comment
Back to Table of Contents

 

Another Ship Heard From: AWP

AWP is not in the business of producing a great conference.
It is in the business of promoting and selling college and university creative writing programs.

agent, author, books, digital, ebooks, Jane Friedman, Porter Anderson, publisher, publishing, Writing on the Ether, Tools of Change, O'Reilly Media, author platform, blog, blogging, journalism, TOC, #TOCcon, Author (R)evolution Day, #ARDay, Publishing Perspectives, Ether for Authors, Ed Nawotka, The Bookseller, FutureBook, Philip Jones, Sam Missingham, Foyles, #FutureFoyles, London Book Fair, #LBF13I’m quoting myself there, I hope not out of immodesty but to demonstrate that my aria on AWP’s Conference in Boston, Ether for Authors: Looking for AWP’s Leadership, was anything but gentle.  I went on (and on):

I’ll bet my $98 in Boston cab fares that AWP president Steve Heller, who sits at Antioch University in LA, may not be all that eager to speak with many of us. Nor do I think the members of his board of the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) looked forward to finding themselves in a Sheraton elevator with you, if you were among the estimated 11,000 people in Boston for what we hashed out as #AWP13 in more than 18,000 tweets. (See for yourself: Here is the stats page of the Epilogger I created on the conference.)

Well, now hear this:

Sorry, Porter, but you just lost your cab fares.

agent, author, books, digital, ebooks, Jane Friedman, Porter Anderson, publisher, publishing, Writing on the Ether, Tools of Change, O'Reilly Media, author platform, blog, blogging, journalism, TOC, #TOCcon, Author (R)evolution Day, #ARDay, Publishing Perspectives, Ether for Authors, Ed Nawotka, The Bookseller, FutureBook, Philip Jones, Sam Missingham, Foyles, #FutureFoyles, London Book Fair, #LBF13

Steve Heller

That’s Steve Heller opening a hailing frequency. He’s now stepping aside as president of the beleaguered AWP but will serve in an ex-officio advisory capacity to the ongoing administration. And if you’ve ever wanted a good model for how to respond to strong criticism, you’ll find it in his comment at Publishing Perspectives.

Heller writes, in part:

For the most part, the messages we received from our constituents were quite different from what you have reported here. Most attendees told board members that they loved the conference, large and overwhelming as it inescapably is. That’s likely because the soul of AWP has never resided in the size and architectural landscape of its annual meeting, but rather in the presentations of its featured guests and its members’ refereed panels, its year-round advocacy for and service to writers who teach, and most of all in the fellowship among writers that develops in the crowded hallways and restaurants and bars and conference rooms—not because of individual attendees’ desire to sell books (many presses did quite well and others did not; that’s true of any book fair anywhere) or to meet publishers (members’ access to publishers and presses was outstanding), but because of what draws us all together in spirit as well as flesh: our common love of literature and all things literary. Anyone who attended the keynote session with Seamus Heaney and Derek Walcott should have a sense of what I’m talking about.

agent, author, books, digital, ebooks, Jane Friedman, Porter Anderson, publisher, publishing, Writing on the Ether, Tools of Change, O'Reilly Media, author platform, blog, blogging, journalism, TOC, #TOCcon, Author (R)evolution Day, #ARDay, Publishing Perspectives, Ether for Authors, Ed Nawotka, The Bookseller, FutureBook, Philip Jones, Sam Missingham, Foyles, #FutureFoyles, London Book Fair, #LBF13Heller also takes some hits, frankly and without dodging, particularly on what he terms the “unconscionably long line for on-site registration.”

And most importantly, he opens the door—at least to the degree he can do so in his current capacity—for dialogue.

In my comment back to him, I work to explain that my main concern is the gulf that I and many others see between the campus-focus of AWP (some of which is simply unavoidable and quite correct, this is an organization of some 500 university creative writing programs, after all) and the industry! the industry! off-campus, the “publishing street” onto which those programs will graduate its writers. I’ve written:

AWP has got the campus covered, deeply, thoroughly, traditionally, and lovingly. I cannot imagine programs feeling that the academic construct is in any way slighted by the conference’s huge roll-out of pedagogically related material. But what about the waterfront? Of 11,000 attendees, how many will actually work the campuses throughout their careers and not have to “go off the reservation” and work in the blindingly changed “real world” of publishing?

agent, author, books, digital, ebooks, Jane Friedman, Porter Anderson, publisher, publishing, Writing on the Ether, Tools of Change, O'Reilly Media, author platform, blog, blogging, journalism, TOC, #TOCcon, Author (R)evolution Day, #ARDay, Publishing Perspectives, Ether for Authors, Ed Nawotka, The Bookseller, FutureBook, Philip Jones, Sam Missingham, Foyles, #FutureFoyles, London Book Fair, #LBF13And there’s where I’d like to see a grand conversation begin between working professionals of the business today and AWP, inclusive of Heller and the current leadership and its many close associates such as former president Denise Low, who also has written at Publishing Perspectives, graciously and forthrightly.

From Heller and Low I learn, in fact, of a “Town Meeting” session held during the events in Boston  specifically for individual members of AWP—presumably a setting in which this conversation might have been started. Alas, it was attended, Low tells me, by only three members of the organization. For my part, I missed it entirely on the schedule of more than 100 offerings per day. It may be that it’s a little hard to determine just what it is. It may also be that I and many others simply overlooked it in the mad rush to navigate the big confab. I certainly regret not knowing this chance was right in front of us, I’d love to have taken part—yes, I’m a member of AWP, as are many of us working in the business.

I’m looking forward to finding chances to confer from here. I hope we’ll hear not just from Heller and Low, our fine former presidents, but also from the current regime so that some effective discussion can be explored. And while we haven’t heard yet from the sitting leadership (there’s a bit of recovery to be undertaken after a conference bigger than many towns, let’s face it), I hope that we will get into wider and frank exchanges of views, if for no other reason to be sure that “we,” representatives of the professional off-campus world of writing correctly understand AWP and its on-campus parallel universe.

Thanking Heller and Low again, I’ll leave with part of the note I directed back to them. It contains, I think, one hard truth we all must bear in mind here for the best chance at real understanding: despite any and all welcoming efforts at hands across the quadrangle, there may not be the common ground here we all would like to find. And if so, let’s get clear on that so we can address it that way:

If AWP’s leadership must say that it simply cannot open the conference to more and deeper evocation of the industry that off-campus awaits our writers, then perhaps just getting to that point — just getting the statement, “Folks, this is it, this is all we are here to do, we can’t embrace any more beyond the campus” — might be the best thing for us all to hear. Perhaps those of us who feel there are shortcomings here simply need to know there’s no ability to change things, that AWP is, if not set in amber, at least restricted to the academic channels that dominate it now. And if that’s the judgment, then maybe we should be looking for some formal liaisons with industry conferences that CAN be related to AWP, creating some programming that might help reveal the causeway between the campus and the jaws of the industry just past the ivy.

Click to comment
Back to Table of Contents

 

Google Pisses Off Everybody: Reader Recalled

agent, author, books, digital, ebooks, Jane Friedman, Porter Anderson, publisher, publishing, Writing on the Ether, Tools of Change, O'Reilly Media, author platform, blog, blogging, journalism, TOC, #TOCcon, Author (R)evolution Day, #ARDay, Publishing Perspectives, Ether for Authors, Ed Nawotka, The Bookseller, FutureBook, Philip Jones, Sam Missingham, Foyles, #FutureFoyles, London Book Fair, #LBF13

Apparently determined to hack off absolutely everybody possible, Mountain View now says it’s going to shut down its RSS Reader on July 1.

Of course, we all have plenty of time these days to stop, figure out how to use Google Takeout to gather up our subscription data, and move that data to…where?

 

I don’t suppose “Consistency of Service” is going to be celebrated in an adorable workup of the Google logo any time soon. Goodle? Doogle? Whatever fool thing we’re supposed to call those awful-lot-of-time-on-somebody’s-hands logo treatments. I’m not amused that the most honest depiction of the company’s own users in such a treatment would be as guinea pigs. Once Google tires of an experiment, it seems to have no problem trashing the users it has wooed.

Here are a couple of dutiful Dans on the sorry story, my emphasis:

agent, author, books, digital, ebooks, Jane Friedman, Porter Anderson, publisher, publishing, Writing on the Ether, Tools of Change, O'Reilly Media, author platform, blog, blogging, journalism, TOC, #TOCcon, Author (R)evolution Day, #ARDay, Publishing Perspectives, Ether for Authors, Ed Nawotka, The Bookseller, FutureBook, Philip Jones, Sam Missingham, Foyles, #FutureFoyles, London Book Fair, #LBF13

Danny Sullivan

First, Danny Sullivan at Marketing Land, in Google To Close Google Reader On July 1:

The news came today in a “Spring Cleaning” blog post from Google, where the company said…”While the product has a loyal following, over the years usage has declined. So, on July 1, 2013, we will retire Google Reader.”…

I’m pretty amazed to read this. While much news reading behavior has moved to social networks these days, I know plenty of dedicated Google Reader users. It was also pretty much the last of the major news reading services standing.

 

agent, author, books, digital, ebooks, Jane Friedman, Porter Anderson, publisher, publishing, Writing on the Ether, Tools of Change, O'Reilly Media, author platform, blog, blogging, journalism, TOC, #TOCcon, Author (R)evolution Day, #ARDay, Publishing Perspectives, Ether for Authors, Ed Nawotka, The Bookseller, FutureBook, Philip Jones, Sam Missingham, Foyles, #FutureFoyles, London Book Fair, #LBF13

Dan Siefert

And here’s Dan Siefert at The Verge, in Google Reader to shut down July 1st. Writes pretty well for a winking toon:

As one of the most popular RSS aggregators around, the death of Google Reader could spell doom for the RSS protocol itself, which has seen waning popularity since the rise of social sharing services. Additionally, there is a rather healthy ecosystem of third party apps for mobile devices that use Google Reader to synchronize news articles. These apps will have to find another method of importing articles from the web or just fade off into the sunset when Reader meets its ultimate demise.

 

agent, author, books, digital, ebooks, Jane Friedman, Porter Anderson, publisher, publishing, Writing on the Ether, Tools of Change, O'Reilly Media, author platform, blog, blogging, journalism, TOC, #TOCcon, Author (R)evolution Day, #ARDay, Publishing Perspectives, Ether for Authors, Ed Nawotka, The Bookseller, FutureBook, Philip Jones, Sam Missingham, Foyles, #FutureFoyles, London Book Fair, #LBF13

Mike Masnick

Then here’s a non-Dan, Mike Masnick at TechDirt to warn us that the Googlers can’t really be trusted, in The Killing Of Google Reader Highlights The Risk Of Relying On A Single Provider:

A very large number of folks I know feel like they practically live inside Google Reader — and I know (for example) that Google Reader is a huge driver of traffic to this site, so I get the feeling many of you use Google Reader as well. The thing that seems to have so many folks upset is the fact that there really aren’t any comparable alternatives if you want that same basic experience. In fact, you could argue that Google effectively killed off many of those alternatives…

I wonder if Google may not realize the wider impact of this move. For example, it has me directly rethinking how much I rely on Google Calendar, Google Drive and Gmail. Now, I don’t think any of those are going away any time soon, but not too long ago (um, yesterday, according to some…) you could have said the same exact thing about Reader.

 

agent, author, books, digital, ebooks, Jane Friedman, Porter Anderson, publisher, publishing, Writing on the Ether, Tools of Change, O'Reilly Media, author platform, blog, blogging, journalism, TOC, #TOCcon, Author (R)evolution Day, #ARDay, Publishing Perspectives, Ether for Authors, Ed Nawotka, The Bookseller, FutureBook, Philip Jones, Sam Missingham, Foyles, #FutureFoyles, London Book Fair, #LBF13

Marco Arment

Our Pollyanna entry—because somebody always has to say bad is good—comes from Marco Arment in Google Reader shutting down July 1:

Back when it [Google Reader] was launched in 2005 (before iPhones), it destroyed the market for desktop RSS clients. Client innovation completely stopped for a few years until iOS made it a market again — but every major iOS RSS client is still dependent on Google Reader for feed crawling and sync. Now, we’ll be forced to fill the hole that Reader will leave behind, and there’s no immediately obvious alternative. We’re finally likely to see substantial innovation and competition in RSS desktop apps and sync platforms for the first time in almost a decade.

 

agent, author, books, digital, ebooks, Jane Friedman, Porter Anderson, publisher, publishing, Writing on the Ether, Tools of Change, O'Reilly Media, author platform, blog, blogging, journalism, TOC, #TOCcon, Author (R)evolution Day, #ARDay, Publishing Perspectives, Ether for Authors, Ed Nawotka, The Bookseller, FutureBook, Philip Jones, Sam Missingham, Foyles, #FutureFoyles, London Book Fair, #LBF13

Om Malik

No such patsy as Arment is Om Malik, bless him, who steps right up to Google’s Urs Hölzle and his oh-so-reasonable-sounding little “spring cleaning” announcement.

Malik is saying what I and a lot of folks think, in his write-up at GigaOmGoogle kills Google Reader, says it will go offline on July 1, 2013, emphasis mine: 

I take issue with Urs’ comments about usage [of the Reader] declining. It declined because the company put no resources into the product and took away social features that made it useful for many. It was a project that was orphaned because it didn’t fit into Google’s vision of a machine-driven reading experience

It is probably my second-most used Google service — after GMail — and I have always been befuddled by Google’s lack of desire to make Google Reader into a bigger reading platform…I wish they would reconsider this decision or, better yet, release the project into the open-source community so that someone can build a follow-on product.

 

agent, author, books, digital, ebooks, Jane Friedman, Porter Anderson, publisher, publishing, Writing on the Ether, Tools of Change, O'Reilly Media, author platform, blog, blogging, journalism, TOC, #TOCcon, Author (R)evolution Day, #ARDay, Publishing Perspectives, Ether for Authors, Ed Nawotka, The Bookseller, FutureBook, Philip Jones, Sam Missingham, Foyles, #FutureFoyles, London Book Fair, #LBF13Malik does offer a hopeful footnote, news from feedly.com. Hell, I won’t even take a swipe at that cutesy name, because I’m grateful for this one. In Transitioning from Google Reader to feedly, we read:

We have been working on a project called Normandy which is a feedly clone of the Google Reader API – running on Google App Engine. When Google Reader shuts down, feedly will seamlessly transition to the Normandy back end. So if you are a Google Reader user and using feedly, you are covered: the transition will be seamless.

 

So, fellow Reader refugees: Paddle over to feedly.com and see what you think. This may be the raft. (Does that logo look like the “F” of Fila?) And note that Malik’s write has a quick-vote for you at the bottom. I’ll be interested to see how it goes.

Om, I’ll shake your hand on April 17 at paidContent Live in New York, sir.

That daylong conference is in our Conferences section below in this column, and on my site’s Conferences page. I’ll be there, as last year, live-tweeting the fine lineup being prepared by the GigaOm and paidContent staffers. Be sure to register by March 22, you can save $100 on your tab.

Laura Hazard Owen

And in additional reading: One of Malik’s staffers, Laura Hazard Owen, GigaOm’s the industry! the industry! correspondent, has a heartfelt piece on the impending choking of the Google Reader at paidContent, Google Reader, please don’t go — I need you to do my job.

She’s right when she writes:

I’d bet that journalists are among the most loyal followers of all, and this morning we are a very unhappy bunch. “Google Reader” is the number-one trending topic on Twitter right now.

Many of us in journalism really do “see things through” the Reader, having become accustomed to it as the apparatus of choice, the framework of our monitor on what’s happening. In case you’re not a user of Google Reader, Owen has a succinct summary of what makes it important to so many of us, too:

The best thing about Google Reader, from my point of view, is that it allows me to scan a lot of information quickly, with the assurance that I’m not missing anything. That’s why, for me, it fills a completely different role than the (equally useful) Twitter does. Twitter provides a snapshot of a moment in time, and you’re likely to miss tweets as they whiz by; Google Reader stores everything. The search on Google Reader is also vastly better than the search on Twitter, and it goes back indefinitely.

I’d say a lot of us are hoping against hope that Google might reconsider this profoundly unpopular decision. And the way we expect to find out about it if it does? On our Google Reader.

Click to comment
Back to Table of Contents

http://twitter.com/randydeutsch/status/312019869249982465

 

The Used-Digital Debate: Dog-Eared eBooks?

eBooks are next, of course, and the concern I hear isn’t so much about the legal aspect but rather the risk of cannibalization. Most publishers seem hung up on the notion that a used ebook sale will mean one less original sale for them. And even if they participate in the used ebook revenue stream, they’re concerned that the selling price will be lower, so they’ll make less when cannibalization happens. I think that’s a very shortsighted view of the opportunity.

 

agent, author, books, digital, ebooks, Jane Friedman, Porter Anderson, publisher, publishing, Writing on the Ether, Tools of Change, O'Reilly Media, author platform, blog, blogging, journalism, TOC, #TOCcon, Author (R)evolution Day, #ARDay, Publishing Perspectives, Ether for Authors, Ed Nawotka, The Bookseller, FutureBook, Philip Jones, Sam Missingham, Foyles, #FutureFoyles, London Book Fair, #LBF13

Joe Wikert

O’Reilly Media’s Joe Wikert has become one of our readiest proponents of the “used digital” concept. Here, he’s writing about it in Used ebooks: Why your assumptions are wrong and the opportunity is huge.

Let’s stop thinking of the used ebook market as yet another step towards the race to zero content valuation. This is different from the used print book market and it represents some very interesting opportunities for publishers who are willing to embrace a new model.

Still, it’s the kind of issue you seem to have to keep backing up on. After all, more than one person has asked, whoever saw a dog-eared ebook?

agent, author, books, digital, ebooks, Jane Friedman, Porter Anderson, publisher, publishing, Writing on the Ether, Tools of Change, O'Reilly Media, author platform, blog, blogging, journalism, TOC, #TOCcon, Author (R)evolution Day, Tools of Change, O'Reilly Media, Publishing Perspectives, Ether for Authors, Ed Nawotka, DBW, #DBW13, Publishers Launch, Authors Launch, FutureBook, Philip Jones, Sam Missingham, The Bookseller, TheFutureBook, FoylesWikert and his Tools of Change co-chair Kat Meyer, hosted ReDigi‘s John Ossenmacher at an intriguing Executive Roundtable on the day before Author (R)evolution Day at ToC last month. Ossenmacher has created ReDigi, he says, as a marketplace. Music sales and buys have been his first effort. He’s looking at ebooks next.

Rachel Deahl at Publishers Weekly wrote up the event in ReDigi Takes Stage at CEO Roundtable:

The way ReDigi works is that it allows consumers to buy and re-sell digital content they have already purchased. Unlike other marketplaces that cater to this exchange on hard goods–be it eBay or a used bookstore–ReDigi allows the original artists and publishers to claim a percentage on each sale.

agent, author, books, digital, ebooks, Jane Friedman, Porter Anderson, publisher, publishing, Writing on the Ether, Tools of Change, O'Reilly Media, author platform, blog, blogging, journalism, TOC, #TOCcon, Author (R)evolution Day, #ARDay, Publishing Perspectives, Ether for Authors, Ed Nawotka, The Bookseller, FutureBook, Philip Jones, Sam Missingham, Foyles, #FutureFoyles, London Book Fair, #LBF13

Rachel Deahl

Deahl also had to point out—as did several folks at the Executive Roundtable—that Ossenmacher has legal troubles, too. ReDigi has been involved in a lawsuit from Capitol Records since shortly after launching, she writes.

As an interesting note about the actual action of buying and selling through ReDigi, Ossenmacher assured us at the Roundtable that if you sell a work of digital music via his marketplace, you must give up your ownership and all use of it. In other words, in the same way that once you sell your used car you no longer have access to it, once you sell your used digital material at ReDigi, it’s gone. So no extra copies are generated.

agent, author, books, digital, ebooks, Jane Friedman, Porter Anderson, publisher, publishing, Writing on the Ether, Tools of Change, O'Reilly Media, author platform, blog, blogging, journalism, TOC, #TOCcon, Author (R)evolution Day, #ARDay, Publishing Perspectives, Ether for Authors, Ed Nawotka, The Bookseller, FutureBook, Philip Jones, Sam Missingham, Foyles, #FutureFoyles, London Book Fair, #LBF13In Ossenmacher’s conception, then, this form of trade involves a single copy/license moving from one owner to another, with producers and artists being paid a cut each time such a sale is made.

But Wikert is right that what seems to dog this issue is a confusion about the place and mechanism behind the idea of a used-digital market. And Amazon’s potential entry into the fray through its achievement of a patent—then Apple’s interest—has only added to the questions and worry.

agent, author, books, digital, ebooks, Jane Friedman, Porter Anderson, publisher, publishing, Writing on the Ether, Tools of Change, O'Reilly Media, author platform, blog, blogging, journalism, TOC, #TOCcon, Author (R)evolution Day, #ARDay, Publishing Perspectives, Ether for Authors, Ed Nawotka, The Bookseller, FutureBook, Philip Jones, Sam Missingham, Foyles, #FutureFoyles, London Book Fair, #LBF13

Jenny Shank

In fact, Jenny Shank writes up the issue from the publishing side for PBS MediaShift, in Will Authors Get Compensated for Used E-Book Sales?

On January 29, Amazon Technologies Inc. received a patent pertaining to the “secondary market for digital objects.” According to the patent abstract, the technology will enable Amazon customers to transfer — and presumably sell — e-books, MP3s, and other digital files to other customers. And, Apple too has filed for patents on the transfer of owned digital items…prominent authors have begun to debate what the potential sale of used e-books would mean for the publishing industry and the writers who depend on it. If used e-book sales follow the model of used print book sales, they will provide no revenue for authors and publishers. But digital copies don’t degrade the way printed books do, so the availability of used e-books could also remove readers’ incentive for buying new e-books.

 

What Wikert is trying to do is move the conversation past such troubling views of the potential to instances in which a resale might be designed to create added value.

He writes:

This isn’t just about lower-priced versions of the original work. It’s time to think about the added-value aspects of a used digital content platform. I’ve written before about how consumer might be able to resell their highlights and notes. Let’s take that a step further.

What if someone reads a 300-page business ebook and condenses the key lessons into 10-20 pages? Think of it as the Cliffs Notes, summarized version. Let’s further assume that reader bundles their summary with the original ebook they bought and sells it via a used ebook marketplace. Could they charge more for their version? Absolutely.

More likely useful in the nonfiction market than the fiction market, Wikert is talking about the kind of summary work that’s pretty desperately needed in much business-book writing (tried reading much of that stuff lately?)—the kind of book that usually has one idea stretched out over eighteen chapters.

 

Writes Wikert:

Btw, there’s no reason the original author couldn’t create this summary instead of or in addition to whatever is created in the reader community. In fact, why not open this up to all readers to create their summary of the ebook and let consumers decide which version they want? Use a voting system so that the best summary writers build a reputation and generate the most income.

These summaries aren’t limited to written material either. There’s no reason video couldn’t play a role here. There’s also plenty of room for an idea I suggested a couple of years ago: The “VIP Notes Edition.” The key is to create a model where author, publisher and summary writer all share in the revenue stream.

Lots of potential there and Wikert follows his write with a shorter addendum, Automated ebook summaries, which carries the added benefit of a link to CruxLight, a web-page highlighting system you might enjoy trying.

agent, author, books, digital, ebooks, Jane Friedman, Porter Anderson, publisher, publishing, Writing on the Ether, Tools of Change, O'Reilly Media, author platform, blog, blogging, journalism, TOC, #TOCcon, Author (R)evolution Day, #ARDay, Publishing Perspectives, Ether for Authors, Ed Nawotka, The Bookseller, FutureBook, Philip Jones, Sam Missingham, Foyles, #FutureFoyles, London Book Fair, #LBF13

Brian O’Leary

In related reading: Brian O’Leary also gets into the subject in his post Challenging Assumptions: Anticipating the Resale of Digital Books. He refers to Shank’s story from MediaShift, as well, and brings up a very interesting idea—what if people were willing to pay more for books they could resell?

As O’Leary writes it:

I have not seen data that tests how much more a consumer might pay for an eBook she could resell. The data might exist; I just haven’t seen it. Maybe it confirms that consumers truly do want to pay as little as possible.

But when Apple convinced labels to offer DRM-free versions of iTunes songs, the company was able to raise its iTunes prices as much as 30%. That wasn’t explicitly a trade for content you could resell, but it illustrates a potential path forward. If people gave an eBook they could resell a higher value, copyright owners and authors would gain.

Click to comment
Back to Table of Contents

 

Books: Reading (a lot) on the Ether

agent, author, books, digital, ebooks, Jane Friedman, Porter Anderson, publisher, publishing, Writing on the Ether, Tools of Change, O'Reilly Media, author platform, blog, blogging, journalism, TOC, #TOCcon, Author (R)evolution Day, #ARDay, Publishing Perspectives, Ether for Authors, Ed Nawotka, The Bookseller, FutureBook, Philip Jones, Sam Missingham, Foyles, #FutureFoyles, London Book Fair, #LBF13When Ether Sponsors Gang Up: It’s sponsor Dave Malone’s writing about his “novelet,” as he calls it, Not Forgiven, Not Forgotten. He’s guesting for another sponsor, Roz Morris.

Not Forgiven, Not Forgotten sounds like a good title for a book about Google killing the Reader, huh? OK, I’ll get off it.

It’s actually about a private detective in the Ozarks.

And Malone has done this week’s entry in Morris’ music-and-writing weekly guest series in The Undercover Soundtrack – Dave Malone,

agent, author, books, digital, ebooks, Jane Friedman, Porter Anderson, publisher, publishing, Writing on the Ether, Tools of Change, O'Reilly Media, author platform, blog, blogging, journalism, TOC, #TOCcon, Author (R)evolution Day, #ARDay, Publishing Perspectives, Ether for Authors, Ed Nawotka, The Bookseller, FutureBook, Philip Jones, Sam Missingham, Foyles, #FutureFoyles, London Book Fair, #LBF13

Dave Malone

Malone writes:

There wasn’t anything better to get me started with the action of Not Forgiven than a pleasant three fingers of Wild Turkey and some Hound Dog Taylor and the Rockers. Upbeat, tough, mean, spirited, tender, poetic describes this powerhouse of an album. She’s GoneWalking the Ceiling and Give Me Back My Wig are three winners. I played this CD while [private detective Walt] Records chased down leads: crashing Adam’s Rib bar, getting pistol-whipped by the corrupt preacher man, and flying through the night in his old Chevy Cav for the next clue.

Q2Somehow, I have yet to hear Hound Dog Taylor on Q2Music, the New York-based contemporary classical Internet Siren for Writers Who Know What’s Good for Them. It’s live-streaming an especially good concert tonight (March 14) from the Ecstatic Music Festival at 7:30pET / 2330 GMT with music of Tyondai Braxton and Jóhann Jóhannsson. I can’t think how Q2 has missed Give Me Back My Wig.

agent, author, books, digital, ebooks, Jane Friedman, Porter Anderson, publisher, publishing, Writing on the Ether, Tools of Change, O'Reilly Media, author platform, blog, blogging, journalism, TOC, #TOCcon, Author (R)evolution Day, #ARDay, Publishing Perspectives, Ether for Authors, Ed Nawotka, The Bookseller, FutureBook, Philip Jones, Sam Missingham, Foyles, #FutureFoyles, London Book Fair, #LBF13Morris and Malone, Malone and Morris, milking the music for mystery in Missouri.

Her novel, no novelet, you’ll remember, is My Memories of a Future Life.

And for those whose memories recall our mention of a March 1 New Orleans bookstore event with Ether sponsors Irish boxer Deirdre Gogarty and co-author Darrelyn Saloom of My Call to the Ring?

Reports are that the evening was a success and included an appearance by The Rogue Reader’s Ro Cuzon (Under the Dixie Moon and Under the Carib Sun) and City of Refuge author Tom Piazza

agent, author, books, digital, ebooks, Jane Friedman, Porter Anderson, publisher, publishing, Writing on the Ether, Tools of Change, O'Reilly Media, author platform, blog, blogging, journalism, TOC, #TOCcon, Author (R)evolution Day, #ARDay, Publishing Perspectives, Ether for Authors, Ed Nawotka, The Bookseller, FutureBook, Philip Jones, Sam Missingham, Foyles, #FutureFoyles, London Book Fair, #LBF13

From left, four authors: Darrelyn Saloom, Deirdre Gogarty, Ro Cuzon, and Tom Piazza in New Orleans.

agent, author, books, digital, ebooks, Jane Friedman, Porter Anderson, publisher, publishing, Writing on the Ether, Tools of Change, O'Reilly Media, author platform, blog, blogging, journalism, TOC, #TOCcon, Author (R)evolution Day, #ARDay, Publishing Perspectives, Ether for Authors, Ed Nawotka, The Bookseller, FutureBook, Philip Jones, Sam Missingham, Foyles, #FutureFoyles, London Book Fair, #LBF13One more note, not about an Ether sponsor but about a friend of the Ether: Hugh Howey’s first book of the Wool trilogy, the original five-novella omnibus, has just come out in its U.S. hardcover and paperback editions from Simon & Schuster.

This is the result of the deal in which S&S blinked and settled for print-only rights to Howey’s growing trilogy. Print fans, it’s there for you now.

agent, author, books, digital, ebooks, Jane Friedman, Porter Anderson, publisher, publishing, Writing on the Ether, Tools of Change, O'Reilly Media, author platform, blog, blogging, journalism, TOC, #TOCcon, Author (R)evolution Day, #ARDay, Publishing Perspectives, Ether for Authors, Ed Nawotka, The Bookseller, FutureBook, Philip Jones, Sam Missingham, Foyles, #FutureFoyles, London Book Fair, #LBF13Meanwhile, as Howey junkets around on an 11-city tour, those readers long-silo’ed in the depths of his yarn already are on to the second book, The Shift Omnibus (Shifts 1-3, the Silo Saga).

Watching out for the Thaw Man.

| | |

As each week, the books you see below have been referenced recently in Writing on the Ether, Ether for Authors, or in my tweets.

I’m bringing them together in one spot each week, to help you recall and locate them, not as an endorsement. And we lead our list weekly with our Writing on the Ether Sponsors, in gratitude for their support.

 


Writing on the Ether Sponsors

 

Click to comment
Back to Table of Contents

 

Did We Mention Conferences? (Discount on WDCE)

Are you producing a publishing or writing conference? Feel free to let me know, and I’ll be happy to consider it for listing here on the Ether and on my Publishing Conferences page at my site.

IfBookThenMarch 19 Milan IfBookThen: “This year IfBookThen opens to a European synergy, thanks to a partnership with Sweden and Spain.” That partnership will see the conference seated in Stockholm, Barcelona and Madrid, as well as Milan. This iteration in Milan features our good colleague Sebastian Posth, Frank Rose, Andrew Rhomberg, Luca de Biase, Christian Damke, Bob Stein, Suzanne Azzopardi, Adrian Todd Zuniga, Evan Ratliff, David Walter, and Serena Danna.


IfBookThenMarch 21 Stockholm IfBookThen: The second iteration of the year for this conference, in Sweden, sees a roster of speakers that includes: Andrew Rhomberg, Evan Ratliff, Svein Moe Ihler, Nille Svensson, Marco Ghezzi, Joakim Formo, Suw Charman-Anderson, Tove Leffler, Joanna Ellis, and Molly Barton.


agent, author, books, digital, ebooks, Jane Friedman, Porter Anderson, publisher, publishing, Writing on the Ether, author platform, blog, blogging, journalism, TOC, #TOCcon, Author (R)evolution Day, Tools of Change, O'Reilly Media, Publishing Perspectives, Ether for Authors, Ed Nawotka, DBW, #DBW13, Publishers Launch, Authors Launch, FutureBook, Philip Jones, Sam Missingham, The Bookseller, TheFutureBook, Foyles, #FutureFoyles, #LBF13, London Book Fair, Digital Minds, #DigiConf13March 24 Bologna Children’s Book Fair O’Reilly Tools of Change (TOC) Bologna: “This unique event covers new developments that relate to the whole children’s book industry. Whether you are an editor or writer, a publisher or illustrator, a marketeer or web producer this is one place to gather practical tools and insights into the changing face of children’s publishing.”

Registration is open, information is here.


agent, author, books, digital, ebooks, Jane Friedman, Porter Anderson, publisher, publishing, Writing on the Ether, author platform, blog, blogging, journalism, TOC, #TOCcon, Author (R)evolution Day, Tools of Change, O'Reilly Media, Publishing Perspectives, Ether for Authors, Ed Nawotka, DBW, #DBW13, Publishers Launch, Authors Launch, FutureBook, Philip Jones, Sam Missingham, The Bookseller, TheFutureBook, Foyles, #FutureFoyles, #LBF13, London Book Fair, Digital Minds April 5-7 New York City Writer’s Digest Conference East: Author James Scott Bell, who knows the value of coffee, gives the opening keynote address this year at “one of the most popular writing and publishing conference in the U.S. Writer’s Digest Conference 2013 is coming back to New York at the Sheraton New York Hotel. Whether you are developing an interest in the craft of writing, seeking an agent or editor and publisher for your work, or a veteran hoping to keep current on the latest and best insights into reaching a broader readership, Writer’s Digest Conference is the the best event of its kind on the East Coast.”  (Note that this year’s hashtag is #WDCE.)

Registration is open, information is here.
Use code PORTER to save on your registration.
Live-tweet coverage from this conference.


agent, author, books, digital, ebooks, Jane Friedman, Porter Anderson, publisher, publishing, Writing on the Ether, Tools of Change, O'Reilly Media, author platform, blog, blogging, journalism, TOC, #TOCcon, Author (R)evolution Day, #ARDay, Publishing Perspectives, Ether for Authors, Ed Nawotka, The Bookseller, FutureBook, Philip Jones, Sam Missingham, Foyles, #FutureFoyles, London Book Fair, #LBF13At WDCE: Public Speaking for Writers: How to Turn Your Readings into Book Sales – Join me in this special three-hour intensive Boot Camp session at 12:30pET on Friday, April 5. We’re going to look at public presentation for the entrepreneurial author. How do you learn to deliver your work with impact—with your text in your hand and a live audience in your face? We’re going to stand you up and workshop your presentation in real time. I want you to bring two pages of a work-in-progress or published work along to use as your session material. And we’ll go over everything from material selection and the real purpose of a reading, to presentational aids and delivery of your “brand.” It’s a lot more than “letting them hear a little sample of the work” whether you’re in the room with your audience or doing a web reading. There’s an additional charge of $149 for this workshop — hope to see you there. Drop me a note or flag me down on Twitter (@Porter_Anderson) with any questions.

Registration is open, information is here.
Some live-tweet coverage from this event, I hope, as I teach — I’ll be looking for some deputies in the house during this one.


agent, author, books, digital, ebooks, Jane Friedman, Porter Anderson, publisher, publishing, Writing on the Ether, Tools of Change, O'Reilly Media, author platform, blog, blogging, journalism, TOC, #TOCcon, Author (R)evolution Day, #ARDay, Publishing Perspectives, Ether for Authors, Ed Nawotka, The Bookseller, FutureBook, Philip Jones, Sam Missingham, Foyles, #FutureFoyles, London Book Fair, #LBF13April 5-7 New York City Screenwriters World Conference EastLed by the tireless Jeanne Bowerman, Editor and Online Manager for F+W Media’s ScriptMag, this is the East Coast iteration of the Los Angeles conference held last fall. Complete with a “pitch slam” like that of the Writer’s Digest conference, Screenwriters World is, the material tells us, “your chance to meet and learn from professionals in every aspect of the entertainment industry. Our panels, sessions, and workshops are hosted by leading experts that can help you improve your craft, find and agent, and sell it to the people who make movies and television shows. You’ll receive real feedback from successful screenwriters, agents, execs, actors, filmmakers and more.” (This conference’s hashtag is #SWCE. I’ve started an Epilogger account on it,  which you might find useful in keeping up with materials in one spot.)

Registration is open, information is here. 


agent, author, books, digital, ebooks, Jane Friedman, Porter Anderson, publisher, publishing, Writing on the Ether, Tools of Change, O'Reilly Media, author platform, blog, blogging, journalism, TOC, #TOCcon, Author (R)evolution Day, #ARDay, Publishing Perspectives, Ether for Authors, Ed Nawotka, The Bookseller, FutureBook, Philip Jones, Sam Missingham, Foyles, #FutureFoyles, London Book Fair, #LBF13

April 14 London Digital Minds Conference at the QEII Conference Center: Author Neil Gaiman gives the keynote address in this fifth year of the Digital Minds program. Also included are Small Demons’ Richard Nash, Safari’s Pablo Defendini, Osprey’s Rebecca Smart, Dosdoce’s Javier Celaya, Valobox’s Anna Lewis, Perseus’ Rick Joyce, Penguin’s Molly Barton and Eric Huang, Poetica’s Blaine Cook, and more.The conference is in the “pre-day” to the Fair, as Author (R)evolution Day was set on the pre-day to Tools of Change in New York this year.

Registration is open, information is here.
Live-tweet coverage from this conference. 


agent, author, books, digital, ebooks, Jane Friedman, Porter Anderson, publisher, publishing, Writing on the Ether, Tools of Change, O'Reilly Media, author platform, blog, blogging, journalism, TOC, #TOCcon, Author (R)evolution Day, #ARDay, Publishing Perspectives, Ether for Authors, Ed Nawotka, The Bookseller, FutureBook, Philip Jones, Sam Missingham, Foyles, #FutureFoyles, London Book Fair, #LBF13April 15-17 London Book Fair at Earls Court.  “The London Book Fair encompasses the broad spectrum of the publishing industry and is the global market place and leading business-2-business exhibition for rights negotiation and the sales and distribution of content across print, audio, TV, film and digital channels.”

This year’s Fair includes an AuthorLounge “curated” (oh, that word) by Authoright, touted as “the inspiring new space at the book fair for authors.”

Registration is open, information is here.
Live-tweet coverage from this book fair.


agent, author, books, digital, ebooks, Jane Friedman, Porter Anderson, publisher, publishing, Writing on the Ether, Tools of Change, O'Reilly Media, author platform, blog, blogging, journalism, TOC, #TOCcon, Author (R)evolution Day, Tools of Change, O'Reilly Media, Publishing Perspectives, Ether for Authors, Ed Nawotka, DBW, #DBW13, Publishers Launch, Authors Launch, FutureBook, Philip Jones, Sam Missingham, The Bookseller, TheFutureBook

April 17 New York City paidContent Live: Riding the Transformation of the Media industry Brisk and bracing, last year’s paidContent Live conference was efficient, engaging, and enlightening, not least for the chance to see many of the talented journalists of Om Malik’s GigaOM/paidContent team work onstage — Laura Hazard Owen, Mathew Ingram, Jeff John Roberts (in history’s most difficult interview), Robert Andrews, Ernie Sander, et al. Among speakers listed for this year’s busy day: Jonah Peretti, Jason Pontin, Chris Mohney, Erik Martin, David Karp, Mark Johnson, Aria Haghighi, Matt Galligan, Rachel Chou, Lewis D’Vorkin, John Borthwick, Andrew Sullivan, Jon Steinberg, Alan Rusbridger, Evan Ratliff, and, of course, the two people the law says absolutely must be in every publishing conference, Dominique Raccah and Michael Tamblyn.

Registration is open, information is here.
Early registration by March 22 saves you $100.
Live-tweet coverage from this conference.


agent, author, books, digital, ebooks, Jane Friedman, Porter Anderson, publisher, publishing, Writing on the Ether, Tools of Change, O'Reilly Media, author platform, blog, blogging, journalism, TOC, #TOCcon, Author (R)evolution Day, Tools of Change, O'Reilly Media, Publishing Perspectives, Ether for Authors, Ed Nawotka, DBW, #DBW13, Publishers Launch, Authors Launch, FutureBook, Philip Jones, Sam Missingham, The Bookseller, TheFutureBook

May 2-5 Oxford, Mississippi Oxford Creative Nonfiction Writers Conference & Workshops Susan Cushman follows her Memphis Creative Nonfiction confab with this year’s gathering at the shrine. Among faculty members: Neil White, Leigh Feldman, Lee Gutkind, Dinty W. Moore, Beth Ann Fennelly, Bob Guccione Jr. and Lee Martin. Pre-conference workshops or just the creature itself, your choice.

Registration is open, information is here.


Grub StreetMay 3-5 Boston The Muse & the Marketplace 2013 is a production of Eve Bridburg’s fast-rising non-profit Grub Street program. It’s material reads tells us that organizers plan more than “110 craft and publishing sessions led by top-notch authors, editors, agents and publicists from around the country. The Manuscript Mart, the very popular and effective one-on-one manuscript reviews with agents and editors, will also span 3 days. We expect nearly 800 writers and publishing professionals to attend, while maintaining the conference’s wonderfully intimate, ‘grubby’ energy that we love.”

Registration is open, information is here.

Click to comment
Back to Table of Contents

 

Last Gas: 50 Shades of Insult Added to Injury

Want to spice up your writing but don’t know how? 50 Shades of Grey writer E.L. James wants to help.

agent, author, books, digital, ebooks, Jane Friedman, Porter Anderson, publisher, publishing, Writing on the Ether, Tools of Change, O'Reilly Media, author platform, blog, blogging, journalism, TOC, #TOCcon, Author (R)evolution Day, #ARDay, Publishing Perspectives, Ether for Authors, Ed Nawotka, The Bookseller, FutureBook, Philip Jones, Sam Missingham, Foyles, #FutureFoyles, London Book Fair, #LBF13

E. L. James

Did you ask E.L. to help? I certainly didn’t. It must have been you.

The author will be publishing 50 Shades of Grey: Inner Goddess, a part writing advice book, part journal, on May 1 through Vintage Books.

That’s Molly Taylor at The Daily Beast in ’50 Shades of Grey’ Author E.L. James to Publish Writing Advice Guide.

 

Fifty Shirtless Men Kissing Beautiful Women. Doesn’t your career just pass before your eyes? As I’ve said before, romance book clubs now outnumber the nations on Earth, it’s a wonder anything else is published at all.

 

agent, author, books, digital, ebooks, Jane Friedman, Porter Anderson, publisher, publishing, Writing on the Ether, Tools of Change, O'Reilly Media, author platform, blog, blogging, journalism, TOC, #TOCcon, Author (R)evolution Day, #ARDay, Publishing Perspectives, Ether for Authors, Ed Nawotka, The Bookseller, FutureBook, Philip Jones, Sam Missingham, Foyles, #FutureFoyles, London Book Fair, #LBF13

Andrew Shaffer

Fortunately, there’s something much better than James’ latest attack on the thinking human being. It’s a Storification from Andrew Shaffer: #50tips: E.L. James’ Writing Tips, with thanks to Sebastian Posth. @Sposth spotted the Storify.

Taylor at the Beast goes on, bravely:

The “bonded leather” journal will offer “readers and aspiring writers a place where they can record their innermost thoughts.” In addition to journaling pages and prompts, the book will also feature an introduction by James, excerpts from her 50 Shades trilogy, inspirational playlists, as well as James’s best writing tips.

Shaffer, for his part, kicks things off this way:

Sarah Wendell (@smartbitches on Twitter) started a hashtag, #50tips, to dispense E.L. James writing advice. Here are some of my faves.

 

Mine, too. If we can’t beat this Jamesian nightmare, let’s just laugh her right off the map.

 

And be thinking of people whose writing careers you’d like to slow down. Perfect recipients for Inner Goddess as a gift.

 

Click to comment
Back to Table of Contents

 


agent, author, books, digital, ebooks, Jane Friedman, Porter Anderson, publisher, publishing, Writing on the Ether, Tools of Change, O'Reilly Media, author platform, blog, blogging, journalism, TOC, #TOCcon, Author (R)evolution Day, #ARDay, Publishing Perspectives, Ether for Authors, Ed Nawotka, The Bookseller, FutureBook, Philip Jones, Sam Missingham, Foyles, #FutureFoyles, London Book Fair, #LBF13Writers in the Spotlight: How To Turn Your Readings Into Book Sales
with Porter Anderson

Join me in this spe­cial three-hour inten­sive Boot Camp ses­sion at Writer’s Digest Conference East (#WDCE) at 12:30pET on Fri­day, April 5. We’ll look at pub­lic pre­sen­ta­tion for the entre­pre­neur­ial author in an interactive, up-on-your-feet workshop format: come with two pages of your work in progress, ready to rock and read.

Click here and see the top listing for details.


Main image: iStockphoto: jgroup

Posted in Writing on the Ether and tagged , , , .

Porter Anderson / @Porter_Anderson

Porter Anderson (@Porter_Anderson) is a journalist and consultant in publishing. He’s The Bookseller’s (London) Associate Editor in charge of The FutureBook. He’s a featured writer with Thought Catalog (New York), which carries his reports, commentary, and frequent Music for Writers interviews with composers and musicians. And he’s a regular contributor of “Provocations in Publishing” with Writer Unboxed. Through his consultancy, Porter Anderson Media, Porter covers, programs, and speaks at publishing conferences and other events in Europe and the US, and works with various players in publishing, such as Library Journal’s SELF-e, Frankfurt Book Fair’s Business Club, and authors. You can follow his editorial output at Porter Anderson Media, and via this RSS link.

Join the conversation

24 Comments on "WRITING ON THE ETHER: Authors Need Random House on Board"

Notify of
avatar
Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Barbara McDowell Whitt

Since the vast majority of published writers are college or university graduates, I don’t see why there needs to be a perceived disconnect between AWP and non-AWP types.

Porter Anderson
@facebook-1179155326:disqus Hi, Barbara, Many thanks for reading the Ether and commenting, so glad to have you. I agree with you fully, and I think that we’re learning the generous spirits of Steve Heller and Denise Low lean the same way. There’s a new return comment from Heller, as a matter of fact, at my Publishing Perspectives column — here’s the direct link — http://publishingperspectives.com/2013/03/ether-for-authors-looking-for-awps-leadership/#comment-221618 — I think you’ll be heartened, as I am, to find that Steve is very enthusiastic about helping us all think of ways to create programming we might call “beyond the pedagogy” for the moment, meaning… Read more »
Barbara McDowell Whitt

Thank you, -p. I appreciate your feedback.

Porter Anderson

@facebook-1179155326:disqus

Likewise, Barbara, great of you to be in touch, thanks!

Victoria Noe
This whole Random House thing makes me cringe. First, it reinforces the need to read the fine print. Someone criticized me recently about doing this, and I said “this is my business – why wouldn’t I read the fine print?” Second, why in the world would anyone agree to their terms – even these new, more benevolent ones? Maybe because I’ve been discussing copyrights and royalties with my lawyer, and structuring my pricing, etc., but I just don’t get it. I know some people will say that signing anything with Random House gives them the credibility that self-publishing does not.… Read more »
Porter Anderson
@twitter-240542789:disqus Cringing with you, Viki, but we do need Random House to be around, just in a transformed state that recognizes The Author’s Supremacy in the Universe. How can it be so hard for them to understand this? LOL You’re right, of course, that writers MUST learn to read fine print other than their own. This is part of being the business people writers normally have NOT been, because the maternal legacy system told them not to worry their pretty little heads about the business details. YOU were at Author (R)evolution Day, so I know you understand all this in… Read more »
Dave Malone
Your comment captured me: “Of 11,000 attendees, how many will actually work the campuses throughout their careers and not have to ‘go off the reservation’ and work in the blindingly changed ‘real world’ of publishing?” I recently served on a panel at a creative writing symposium at liberal arts school, Drury University. One pertinent topic of conversation was this: a couple of panelists graduated from either a creative writing program or earned a degree in English, yet they ended up in professions that had little to do with academe or the industry. For instance, some of my former jobs include… Read more »
Porter Anderson
@twitter-113151901:disqus Thanks for the input, Dave! There’s been a grand back and forth over at Publishing Perspectives with Steve Heller and Denise Low (former AWP presidents) and I’m hoping it leads to further dialogue about how AWP can work to offer more to us “townies” (as we used to call the people of Williamsburg, Virginia, who were not part of the William and Mary campus community, lol). Basically, that’s what it has come down to, a very healthy conversation about the townies of AWP and the fact that all roads do NOT lead to the campus anymore, nor even intersect… Read more »
GrigoryRyzhakov
Porter, to allow myself a bit of humour first, I think I might have re-invented the romance genre: both men in my upcoming book start kissing the main heroine while still wearing shirts. I’ll sue anyone who steals my invention :))) But seriously, what can E.L.J. possibly teach us about writing? How many boxes of chocolates to devour while writing, per chapter? Not all romance is bad though – Anna Karenina is a good example, a modern one is Salmon Fishing in the Yemen. It’s just the poorly educated majority prefers bookporn: old brain is hard to beat (it craves… Read more »
Porter Anderson
@GrigoryRyzhakov:disqus Grisha, As our #50Tips wags would tell you, get that new book out immediately and be prepard to sue anybody who tries to steal your Shirted Men Kissing a Beautiful Woman idea. That’s exactly the point on E.L. James, whose silly initialed pen name is so tempting to pronounce as “Eel,” I find. What CAN she teach us? I’ll leave it to you to claim that “not all romance is bad.” Of course that’s true, but I’m so sick of its overwhelm of the industry that I’m happy only lying and saying that it’s all bad, which I continue… Read more »
Adrijus Guscia

That 50-50% split of Net Income is still not perfect.. Gross Income would be much better Net Income. I bet you Publishers will find ways to cut down Net and pay out less than it should be. They will get their investment back first probably and then go for 50-50% of Net income..

Porter Anderson
@twitter-191604729:disqus Adrijus, Really good of you to read the Ether and comment, thanks, great to have you. I think that many of us watching the Random House imprints contracts dispute would agree that the 50-50 on net isn’t adequate. The industry’s publication elements are shifting very quickly these days, and it can become extremely hard to guess how a 50-50 split of that kind might better a 70-30 split (in the author’s favor) at Amazon, or an even greater percentage at Smashwords, and so on. The major publishers, for the most part, have yet to prove their actual superiority in… Read more »
Adrijus Guscia
Hey Porter, thanks for reply and kind words! I agree, but my point was to say that Net vs Gross is what people miss too, not only the ration 50/50 or 70/30. Even on 70/30 writer might get crappy royalties because there are ways to ”reduce Net” with all kinds of expenses (business try to do it all the time, less profit, less taxes, so they grow their expenses to make it happen). It depends on how Publishing House defines ‘Net’ income. If it’s only expenses on the cover/formatting/editing etc than good, but they might find other expenses that should… Read more »
Porter Anderson

Yes, I get what you’re saying, Adrijus, and in fact this is one of the alarming elements of the Random House contracts (and others). If the expenses that a house can charge against gross aren’t specified, then the net can get lower and lower before the author sees a cut. Totally worrisome and, to my mind, another reason authors aren’t seeing too many really viable “partnership” models yet on contracts.

Thanks again for writing and clarifying!
-p.

Adrijus Guscia

Yeah, there should be pre-determined amount of money allowed to spend on a book and things defined clearly. But most writers don’t even bother to study or negotiate (same in music) and get in trouble. So ignorance here doesn’t help. Wish more folks read this article and articles from http://www.kriswrites.com where she has tons of great content about contracts and rights.

Cheers
Adrijus

trackback

[…] Headline news this week was the dustup caused by Google’s announcement it would kill off its Google Reader come July 1. As the news circulated, many pleaded with Google to change its mind, some signed a petition begging Google to reconsider, and others suggested the company open source the product. Porter Anderson has a nice roundup of the collective woe on this week’s Writing on the Ether post. […]

Sarah Wynde
I’ve spent my day deleting Google from my life. Moving my blog from blogger to WordPress; creating a new email account (non-gmail-related) and updating sites that used the old one; finding a new RSS reader (I’m going with NewsBlur); copying files from Google Drive back to MS Office (and wow, it’s strange to be back in that interface.) Ironically, though, I’ve spent around $100 today. If Google had decided it needed to start charging for Reader, I wouldn’t have been thrilled, but I would have paid. Google killing Reader is the last straw for me, though: I no longer trust… Read more »
Porter Anderson

You’re not the first I’ve heard who is cutting the Google cord! Congrats, if that’s what you think you need to do, I can certainly understand. I’m hoping to configure Feedly for my needs, and I’ve also signed the (possibly useless) petition of Google in which more than 116,000 people have so far asked Google to reconsider killing the Reader. The petition, if you’d like to have a look, is here: https://www.change.org/petitions/google-keep-google-reader-running
Thanks again for your input, good luck going Google-less!
-p.
@Porter_Anderson

Sarah Wynde

Signed the petition, but I actually kind of like Newsblur. And WordPress themes are way more fun than Blogger. I’m thinking this might be one of those kick-in-the-pants moments that actually wind up being rewarding, not regretted!

Porter Anderson

@SarahWynde:disqus

Good, Sarah. I’m hopeful of Feedly filling the bill, too, word from @LaughingStoic at the @Verge is that they’ve had more than half-a-million signups from Google refugees already, so the crowd is dispersing fast. Sad to say for Google, they’ll never get the trust of their users back after something like this, though I’m very happy for you if it takes you in some directions — away from Google — that you feel good about. And yes, WordPress is far, far superior to Blogger, in my estimation, though it always comes down to taste, of course.

Thanks for commenting!

-p.

@Porter_Anderson

trackback

[…] sells your work to an imprint that pays no advance and even charges you (the author) upfront fees—a scenario that was briefly on the table when Random House rolled out new contracts for their digita…? Or what if you get the rights back to older titles that your agent sold, and you want to […]

trackback

[…] Thursday’s Writing on the Ether segment on the steady hubbub around this phrase “used digital content”—lots of folks still […]

trackback

[…] to read this full Writ­ing on the Ether col­umn at […]

trackback

[…] Headline news this week was the dustup caused by Google’s announcement it would kill off its Google Reader come July 1. As the news circulated, many pleaded with Google to change its mind, some signed a petition begging Google to reconsider, and others suggested the company open source the product. Porter Anderson has a nice roundup of the collective woe on this week’s Writing on the Ether post. […]

wpDiscuz